Monday, 27 August 2012

Typhoons over Stanley

[Arrived in the Falklands from Teddington, England in January, on a 2-year contract.  This blog is merely some observations on life here - human and wild.]

Falklands Thrush
Last week saw our team of newcomers soundly beaten in the Falkland Islands Radio Service (FIRS) Winter Quiz.  This quiz is quite competitive, we found, and with rounds like "Who is this?" (clips from the radio station's archives), and "This Week's Penguin News",  it was always going to be a struggle for non-Islanders.

However, we managed to have a few lucky guesses, and knew quite a few of the opposition's answers, including, "Who won the monthly golf medal?"  (Penguin News Sports section).   They didn't know the answer, but we did as David, the Pharmacist, had won, and he was in our team!

Still, it was all quickly forgotten, as we drowned our sorrows in the Victory pub - our only sniff of Victory that night.....
Very fast...and low.
While out walking, I occasionally see and hear some of the RAF Typhoons that are based in the Falklands.  I don't think their patrols are publicised, so quite often they have very loudly flown overhead and are a distant speck by the time I switch on my camera.
"Bombs away...!".  
But recently, I've watched them do some circuits over Stanley airport and have managed to snap them as they come in for the third time...
"I'm back!"   "Woof!", say dogs....
I've also spotted a couple of solitary penguins, who have strolled ashore at the "wrong" beach.  The one they want is in the next bay, and has about 100 of their friends.  It's also out of bounds to humans, so rather peaceful for penguins.   This one is a bit busier, and there are often people walking their dogs, which see the penguins as a novel plaything to chase.

The boredom of coming ashore 8 weeks before the females.....
On walks into the hills around Stanley, you see copious amounts of metal left over from the war in 1982 - jeeps, guns, field kitchens, etc.    But I couldn't for the life of me work out what this contraption, below, might have been used for.
Space ship, peat cutter, bog roller?  You decide!
There's a Falkland's photo page on Facebook, so I posted it there in the hope someone with local knowledge would shed some light on the mystery.  It was variously suggested to be an automated peat cutter; the paddle wheel from a river boat; and the propulsion unit from a spacecraft....So, still none the wiser!
Turkey Vulture keeping the countryside clean.
The major military news has been the arrival of HMS Dauntless, the Navy's most powerful warship,  around our shores.  Although specifically designed to be hard to detect, most Falklanders were made aware of the ship when our TVs starting showing snow, instead of the latest episode of  Eastenders.....
TV interference from stealthy destroyer
It seems that the ship's powerful radar (it can simultaneously track all the aircraft over South America), also interferes with TVs and radios.  Probably not such an issue when it's in mid-Atlantic patrol, but a bit annoying for anyone wanting to catch up on their favourite TV drama.
HMS Dauntless (designed for low-radar profile)
I'll be shortly adding more information about our recent Bolivian detour,  but for those of you interested in local news - the price of a bunch of celery today was £2.99, a kilo of onions - £1.75, 300gms of Cheddar cheese - £3.34, bananas - 75p each, apples - 45p each, pears - 76p each, small lettuce - £1.45.

It's enough to turn one to drink  (Chilean Sauvignon Blanc - £7.99 a bottle (which has been shipped via the UK!)).

And Penguin News reported  that 2 pigs from Hampshire have flown in to augment the Islands' meagre bacon production.  Once they settle in and start raising a family, it will be bacon butties for all!  Mmmmmm!


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